A Little Coffee Can Go A Long Way

My wife and I have been volunteering our time for ‘Street Ministry’ work through the Salvation Army. This entails helping to provide hot food, warm clothing and a friendly ear to the many homeless and less fortunate people in Edmonton every Friday evening. After our shift on the streets has come to a close on a Friday night, we gather as a team and grab a coffee at a nearby McDonalds. I started to save the little stickers on the side of my coffee cup and attach them to the loyalty card provided. As soon as you collect a full card of seven stickers you can redeem it for a free medium coffee. Great marketing, I thought. But then I had an idea, what if I saved these and gave them to a homeless person I meet on the street so they can escape from the cold, sit somewhere warm and enjoy a hot beverage of their choice. (With free refills!)

It wasn’t long before I filled my first card. It sat in my wallet for a while until one day I was in Calgary on business, it was early morning and I was walking back to my hotel after grabbing a coffee for myself. I met this old man pushing a shopping cart full of bottles. He looked cold so I asked him if he would like a coffee, he looked at me and his face lit up as I handed him the card. “Thank-you very much!” he said, and went on to tell me how he gets up every morning at 4:30am to come downtown to collect the bottles from behind all the bars and restaurants. This was the start of my coffee card collecting! I was determined to collect as many as possible, I told a few friends about it and they now save their cards and give them to me when they are full. A good friend of mine handed me a bundle and I carry them with me in my jacket pocket and give them out regularly to homeless people on a Friday evening or any other time our paths may cross.

If you are in Edmonton and have any completed McDonalds coffee cards you would like to donate, let me know, I can put them to good use.

Some happy recipients of a free coffee.

Some happy recipients of a free coffee.

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Say Hello to Gelo

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There are literally hundreds of iOS ‘iPhoneography’ apps out there. I should know, I own an iPhone full of them! I have so many it has turned into an obsession of mine and I keep expecting to come home to my family and there be an intervention of some kind. Given the saturation (no pun intended) in the marketplace it is difficult for new apps to get noticed these days. Except for the special ones, and by those I mean the Camera+/Snapseed/Picfx/Hipstamatic/Pixlromatic etc. Then along comes Fotosyn. They release an app called BleachByPass (see my previous app review) and create something different. Fotosyn doesn’t just stop there, a couple of months later they release Gelo and anchor themselves in the top folder on my iPhone with both apps.

Gelo is a very creative app, using a beautiful, sleek interface that is easy to use and creates amazing results. You can take a photo or import from your library and begin dabbling with different colour tints and overlays. Adding a graduated tint to a dull sky is reminiscent of the traditional Cokin filters I used way back in college to add a hint of ‘tobacco’ to bring some life to a listless shot. Subtle use of this app can have some impressive results.

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The interface is clean, simple and easy to navigate. I love the design of the circular wheel of colour ‘gels’ that you can rotate and select one to add as an overlay, tint or shape. I have played with many different options and have achieved some very cool results.

IMG_8498This is a photo of the Edmonton skyline and I simply added a purple gel overlay to the sky, adjusted the strength and then saved it to my album. I began to experiment with introducing colour to black and white images and discovering the difference between add, overlay and tint to vary my results.

IMG_8379In this image I used the BleachByPass app and then imported it into Gelo to add some colour tinting.

 

IMG_8466This image had several ‘passes’ through the Gelo app to add varying colours to the same image.

 

Gelo also plays well with other apps. I like to create cool effects by combining the results of two or three different apps to mix up the effects of the edit. One app in particular is great fun to use with Gelo, and it is the Etchings app. It converts an image into line art with varying degrees of detail. The image below was created using the Gelo and Etching combo with subtle yet effective results.

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I can’t wait to see what Fotosyn come up with next. For now, head over to the AppStore and grab Gelo. Your iPhone will thank you.

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Inspiring Photography Quote

Ansel Adams

“A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is thereby a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.”
– Ansel Adams

Bleach Bypass iPhoneography App

Bleach Bypass

My iPhone is filled with over 150 photography apps. You could say I am a little addicted to iPhoneography and the simplicity of shooting and editing images from the best pocket camera.

Once in a while there comes an app that stands out because of its creativity and appeal. A couple of weeks ago I grabbed the ‘Bleach Bypass’ app by fotosyn. It’s a nice, clean and simple app that is easy to use. It replicates the traditional photographic technique of the partial or complete skipping of the bleaching function during the processing of colour film. By doing this, the silver was retained in the emulsion along with the color dyes. The result was a black and white image over a color image. The images usually would have reduced saturation and exposure latitude, along with increased contrast and graininess. The Bleach Bypass app does an incredible job of matching these results. Here are a few example images I have created using Bleach Bypass:

My cat Pixel waiting for food.

My cat Pixel waiting for food.

Yellow Cab

Yellow Cab

This image was featured on a local TV news program that has a 'photo of the day' feature.

This image was featured on a local TV news program that has a ‘photo of the day’ feature.

The app is available on the app store, follow the creators on Twitter @fotosyn and @bleachbypassapp for more information.

One on One Apple Personal Training

If anyone out there is interested, check out this link to an extensive one-on-one course in getting acquainted with your new Apple computer. If you are new to the Apple world of computing this video training course on Udemy is for you…

http://www.udemy.com/professionalize-your-experience-with-your-mac/?couponCode=The+Man+Who+Blogs

Remember to enter the coupon code ‘The Man Who Blogs’ to get the entire course for $20 – a saving of $29.

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Social Media Can Be Annoying. To Some.

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The world of social media can be a funny place at times. To me it is a way of finding out information based upon my likes and interests and making a few ‘virtual’ friends along the way. I apologize in advance if I have broken social media etiquette and used more than two hashtags per post. I will be mindful of this in the future as I don’t want to upset any of my followers. Yes, I have been unfollowed because I used more than four hashtags in a post. If you are that upset by this then you seriously have some major issues. #Get #Over #It.

I used to use the PaperLi service to produce a daily Twitter ‘newsletter’ of favourite and relevant tweets until I was told by the editor of a prominent Apple magazine to stop as it ‘clogged his feed’. As a reader of his magazine for many years I was surprised as I thought that spreading news and information was one of the uses of Twitter. Way to alienate your readership.

I will soldier on despite these virtual slaps on the wrist, learn from my mistakes and become a better Twit.

A Brief Visual History of Instagram

I joined Instagram back in November 2010 shortly after its release in the app store. I have used it every day since and enjoy the creativity of the community that contributes on a regular basis. This week I fear for the app and the future of that creativity. I can only hope that Facebook will do what they promised in their statement and leave the app alone.

Here is an interesting info graphic documenting the brief history of Instagram from birth to being swallowed up by Facebook…

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Flock of Waxwings

As a lapsed Ornithologist, I was still excited to witness the sight of a huge flock of Cedar Waxwings descend upon our backyard this week. I managed to grab a few photos before a neighbours dog sent them fluttering into the distance.

GoPro or GoHome

I recently purchased a new GoPro Hero2 camera to add to my arsenal of digital imaging equipment. I love gadgets, but this to me is more than a gadget. As a serious videographer I needed to add an extra dimension to my films, and usually use more than one camera when shooting footage. So the GoPro was an obvious choice. I have mounted it to the hood of my Mini to capture b-roll while driving, strapped it to the head of a nurse while she immunized a baby and, as you will see from the video, taken it sledding and swimming. I can’t wait to shoot more video with this powerful HD camera.

Welcome

Welcome to my WordPress blog.

You may have landed on my site quite unintentionally, or you may be here because you know me already or follow my digital life through the various social media apps out there.

This little corner of the web is dedicated to anything and everything that interests me as a creative individual.